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Sadus > Elements of Anger > Reviews
Sadus - Elements of Anger

Elements of Senselessness - 46%

Hames_Jetfield, August 5th, 2022

The decline in interest in thrash metal and death metal after around 1993 caused the Americans of slow down a bit. During this time, they narrowed the line-up to a trio (Rob Moore left the band) and composed new material very gradually (of which 3 songs were released in 1994 as the "Red Demo" cassette), directing into clearly lighter regions than their previous albums. After such moves it was not difficult to conclude that with the release of "Elements Of Anger" Darren Travis' band decided to push technical thrash/death aside, and to put much more accessible and much less aggressive sounds. However, like maaany others, they clearly lost in all these drastic changes.

Well, "Elements Of Anger" - contrary to the title - breaks with the wildness and twisted technique from previous albums, and instead offers frequent, slow creating of climate, numerous clean guitars inserts, a lot of medium paces, calm (?) fragments and keyboard interferences reminiscent of Nocturnus (but without good feeling for kitsch). And even if it was to show the greater versatility of these musicians, many of these "novelties" simply do not fit into their older patents, and the whole cd lacks a clearly defined concept. On one side, therefore, there are quite concrete "Fuel", "Aggression" and "Power Of One", while on the other side, there is a total lack of ideas for reconciling thrash/death patents with those lighter ones, which is exemplified by "Unreality", "In The End", "Words Of War" and "Crutch", songs that may cause embarrassment (mainly due to keyboards). Darren's vocals (apart from the whispered ones), solo parts, bass or "fleshy" production sounds good on "Elements...", but all this, unfortunately, does not blur the overall, too subdued atmosphere of this disc.

After the release of "A Vision Of Misery", Americans from Sadus made to wait quite a long time for their successor, and when it finally came out, the new music did not break through the level of its predecessor. First of all, the group lost itself too much in non-extreme patents and decided to drop a large part of its characteristic technical speeding somewhere in the background. Therefore, "Elements Of Anger" is not particularly suitable for everyday listening.

Originally on A bit of metal

Manual in Anger Management for 90’s Metal Dummies - 88%

bayern, February 11th, 2017

You have to give it to Darren Travis: the man patiently waits for Steve DiGiorgio to complete all his duties to half the metal fraternity in order to sit down and compose something new under the Sadus banner. He hasn’t taken part in any other act all these years; which is a real shame since he remains one of the finest guitar players to ever grace the thrash metal scene. So much for dedication and devotion to a single entity throughout an entire creative period…

cause Sadus could have contributed so much more to the field. From their initial pristine bashing beginnings they quickly rose to the sadus… sorry, status of prime technical thrash/death metal practitioners with an outstanding double (“Swallowed In Black”, “Visions of Misery”) which also saw them lasting beyond the proverbial 1991 as the last great year for metal. However, the 90’s were screaming for new sounds and other musical vogues, and almost every 80’s thrash metal practitioner had to adapt to those demands, more or less appropriately. DiGiorgio was also in high demand at the time as a session musician, but the band still found the time to record the “Red Demo” in 1994 which was a sign that they would also be willing to obey the new canons… in their own way.

Then the “Chronicles of Chaos” compilation appeared three years later the guys reminding of their glorious past by putting together songs from their first three efforts; hopefully a hint at another old school death/thrashterpiece to emerge soon. The new opus eventually followed although its title didn’t exactly hint at bombastic retro exploits to be contained within, with the cuts from the Red Demo save one (“Black March”) also featured. Begins “Aggression”, and a lot of anger and aggression start pouring over the listener who has no reasons to complain at this early stage as the guys thrash with technicality and just casual proto-modern shades. Everything seems to be perfectly in place on this eventful piece, Travis’ signature hectic guitar pyrotechnics and staple dramatic shouts, DiGiorgio’s affirmative, authoritative burps… “Crutch” follows suit and full-blooded modern thrash enters the arena making this modern progressiver a cool biting composition. “Words of War” is a wild retro thrasher with more eclectic technical decisions and frequently changing tempos some of those bordering on death metal.

“Safety in Numbers” looks for safety in a sprawling balladic interlude and later remains long in atmosphere, a minimalistic mid-pacer with creepy suggestive riffs fighting with the circulating quiet passages the whole time. “Mask” follows a similar trajectory without speeding up too much, recalling Grip Inc.’s approach where thrash and deep atmospherics have also formed really attractive symbiosis. “Fuel” is the short shredder form the Red Demo, a formidable steam-roller with a maddening fast-paced section in the second half. “Power of One” is another cut from the demo, a mid-tempo roller-coaster with sinister doomy overtones; and “Stronger than Life” is an urgent headbanger destroying everything in its way with its raging rapidfire guitars which only stop for the stomping mid-break. “Unreality”’s surreal intro suggests another “unreal” modern opera, and the band indeed mosh in a chunky, jumpy manner not thrashing very hard, relying more on stylish semi-technical quirks to pull it through. “In the End” is, of course, the last number, a semi-balladic groover which is nothing but a subdued epitaph to this modernist saga.

Yes, Sadus adapted to the modern tastes as well, one of the last fortresses to fall, ironically shortly before the old school came back in fashion. Unlike some other outfits (Exodus, Anthrax, Destruction, Kreator, Overkill), though, who drastically altered their style in order to sound relevant, our friends here somehow managed to retain their roots. Even the biggest optimists out there couldn’t have expected “Swallowed in Black 2” to grace their ears in the late-90’s, but at the same time not many were those who readily embraced Sadus’ new face, and this album failed to generate very positive reviews back then. It seemed as though the music media was avidly looking for fallen 80’s heroes to crucify them further by labelling them as traitors and the likes. The fact is that this opus presented modern thrash in its finest form in a way very similar to the already mentioned Grip Inc. works, without completely destroying the bridges towards the classic metal rules. The only issue that came to mind was its timing: how would any other potential “elements of anger” fit into the retro thrash resurrection wave that was already valiantly looming on the horizon? By no means anyone wanted to see Sadus, of all bands, flagging a dead horse at the least appropriate time…

well, with DiGiorgio’s perennially busy schedule, this issue never became a very pressing one for the Sadus team. They were destined to lay low for the umpteenth time, with Travis and Co. (the Co. part comprising the drummer Jon Allen) painstakingly waiting for another moment to strike whenever DiGiorgio could recall that he does actually have a main band. However, the gap this time seemed unsurmountable: “Out for Blood” came out in 2006, nearly a decade later, when half of the 80’s thrash constellation was already fully operational again, thoroughly enjoying their second spell with the music industry. Sadus begged to differ again; this album was a very faithful sequel to the previous one with the band paying tribute to the 90’s by inserting the obligatory echoes from their roots. Universally denounced, it wasn’t a bad effort at all, and those who appreciated the modernized delivery on “Elements…” must have been delighted. There were a few inept numetal references (“Smackdown”) present, but overall it all sounded kind of refreshing and invigorating having in mind the blind emulation of the old school laws into which both the new and old outfits were indulging, and still are at present.

Not surprisingly, another lengthy period of silence followed, and is still going as of now. There has been no news from the Sadus camp for over ten years excluding the live album from Chile released in 2015. At least that’s a sign that there are ashes smouldering over there, and it shouldn’t take long before they acquire a more tangible form to give another lesson in anger to the new millennium’s metal fanbase.

Surprisingly left unnoticed. - 70%

stonedjesus, April 6th, 2011

The shift to Mascot records after leaving Roadrunner really is indicative as to what style of heavy metal you should expect to find on “Elements of Anger”. Roadrunner was a fairly cutting edge ‘go-to’ label for heavy metal music in the early 1990’s. Mascot, on the other hand, has typically been home to virtuoso groups and solo artists with a progressive rock style. When “Elements of Anger” was released the album’s advertisements were primarily found in prog-rock distros and magazines. What I’m getting at here is that the fourth Sadus album is a mid-paced progressive thrash metal album. Something along the lines of Death’s “The Sound of Perseverance” but a touch more rooted in mid-90’s groove metal trappings.

Most anything Sadus’ bassist Steve DiGiorgio touches tends to get noticed solely for his attendance (Death “Individual Thought Patterns” and Testament “The Gathering” generally hold much of the fan spotlight.) In fact his unique fretless bass playing is typically the focal point of the majority of Sadus album reviews and hype. To be fair, his bass lines did in fact enhance “Swallowed in Black” and “A Vision of Misery” but the guy is a nothing more than a glorified session musician with a cool sound (outside of his core Sadus releases.) “Elements of Anger” is in fact a Sadus core release and his playing here is pretty standard for late 90’s DiGiorgio, plenty of bonky flourishes and atmosphere building tone. I’m not a fan, he is always filler and never a ‘hook’ in any song.

In my opinion Darren Travis has always been more important than DiGiorgio. His style of guitar riffs and vocals are what made the first three Sadus albums interesting, exciting and energetic. While he still has some interesting ideas to toss out on this album his rhythm guitar performance does flop around in mid-paced hard rock/groove metal territory too often. This is not, however, a grunty Pantera imitation nor is it an awkward, angsty, doofus-assed chest pound like their decade later follow-up “Out For Blood”.

Straddling the fence between cerebral prog-metal and laid back half-thrash “Elements of Anger” turns out to be an easy listen with some memorable moments here and there. If you like any of the albums or bands I’ve mentioned in this review, I believe this album is worth a full listen. If you are a huge fan of thrash or death metal and want to see what happened between “Swallowed in Black” and the disappointing “Out For Blood” you should probably find something better to do with your time as “Elements of Anger” will not be what you’re looking for.

Technical Masterpiece? - 70%

Jaxel, December 11th, 2004

This album has always been referred as being a masterful one, super technical, progressive, etc etc. So after hearing all the praise and knowing that almighty Steve Digorgio (Control Denied, Death, Testament, Autopsy, Iced Earth, and a bunch others I wouldn't waste time mentioning) plays on the album, well, I bought it.

I, for once, was disappointed. I dunno, it simply didn't clicked with me. The first song, "Aggression", is really good indeed, but somehow as the album plays along, nothing really strikes a chord with me, but let me tell you by now this album its technical and if you're a bassist, oh you will cream in your pants. That said the bass is very present, something I find very interesting. The guitars (Darren Travis) are heavy as they can be. The drumming (Jon Allen), well, it's very simple and nothing to write home about. And the vocals...I think they are a big turn off to me. I guess that's the biggest reason I dislike this album , but it is as competent as it can be.

Maybe one day I'll simply get used to the vocals and enjoy this, but for now this will go into the spot in my cd collection that's labeled "only when you're bored and experimenting with drugs".